Today on that little social media website that we call Facebook, a picture was posted and a tidbit of an article was shared.
The writer of the article, a Bill McClellan from the St. Louis Dispatch, proposed that the government cut costs by ending the policy of funerals with honors for Veterans.
McClellan agrees there are large areas to cut governmental spending, he feels that the small cost saving areas should be addressed as well.
His article quotes possible cost figures for what the government might pay to the veterans organizations who help staff the funerals for our veterans. In doing the math, I can see where his point takes on a certain level of validity. From a purely mathematical perspective I could agree with him; and had his article remained devoid of his personal opinion, I may have backed his cause.
His suggestion that “most veterans didn’t do anything heroic anyway…..”, is where my opinion of his argument began to wane, if not screech to an abrupt halt. I find the day in and day out donning of a uniform to put yourself in the path of harm, very heroic. He finishes his article by giving all veterans a call to action. He asks them to set aside their entitlement to a funeral with honors as a sacrifice for the country they loved enough to serve.
I do not like these last two statements from the author. Our government entered into a contract with each of the men and women who have served our country. In exchange for their service, our government has promised to help them attend college, provide for their medical needs, and when they die, their family can request a funeral with honors. Out of the three contractual promises, or entitlements, that I listed above; the only one that I know the government consistently meets its obligation on is funerals. To do as Mr. McClellan suggests would not be a grand gesture of sacrifice for a veteran, it would be a slap in the face, and yet another entitlement denied.
While I am the first person to look for a way to save a dollar, please do not suggest cutting costs by taking the last exhibition of thanks away from our veterans. They gave their sweat, tears, time, and in some cases their blood, for this country. A flag, a few shots fired, and a bugle, don’t seem to cost too much when weighed against a life.
To read McClellan’s original article: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/bill-mcclellan/mcclellan-one-last-call-to-service-end-military-funeral-honors/article_8495bfa5-33b5-5fd0-bfd9-9415fde97e13.html
To read an article about McClellan’s article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/28/columnist-wants-end-military-funeral-honors-vets-w/
What do you think? Is cutting funeral honors for a veteran a wise cost cutting choice?